As the state of Tamil Nadu is in severe water crisis, Republic TV investigation showed how the tanker mafias are looting water, increasing the woes of the citizens. Investigation showed that some government lorries are immediately transferring water to the private lorries, standing outside the metro pumping station.
Exposing the nexus between the government and private water tanker lobbies, in Valluvar Kottam area of Chennai, Republic accessed four videos in which people are standing in a long queue for hours.
In the first video, a woman is seen crying at the metro tanker lorry booking station because she says she had been waiting for 35 days. She can be seen urging the government to ensure water supply.
"Tell us how we will live, we have voted & we should come and stand in the road. It was booked on 17th, it's been 35 days now. I am coming for 35 days. Each time you say each reason. You are giving it for people who came before me. Do you think we don't have any work?! We've left our kids at home and have come here, how can we live even without drinking water? Where will I go for recommendations each and every time? What will people below me do? Tell me where they will all go. I cannot afford to buy water paying 4,000 rupees, how many days can I control myself?" says the woman seen in the video.
In the second video, a blue government lorry can be seen transferring water to private tankers. The third video shows people standing in the queue to book the vehicles and to inquire about their booking. In the fourth video, tankers without signboards, which are some private tanker lorries enter the pumping station and fill water.
While some private tankers are allowed to get water from the metro pumping station, they require written permission and signboards to indicate that they are not illegal. The visuals prove that none of these water takers had signboards of permission.
The state of Tamil Nadu, especially cities like Chennai are facing acute water scarcity for almost two months now. The city is provided from four reservoirs - Poondi, Chembarambakkam, Puzhal and Cholavaram whose capacities have dipped below 1% of the demand hence fail to supply water to Chennai. The city receives its water from its three main desalination plants and other tankers and pipelines.
After the high-level meeting on June 21, talking about the other steps taken by the government to provide water, he added that water was being transported by trains from Vellore, pipes from the Veeranam lake adding there was not adequate water supplied from the Krishna river - the quota allotted to Tamil Nadu under the Telugu Ganga Project of the Andhra Pradesh government.
"Government has taken all efforts to supply water to the city. We are bringing 10 MLD of water to Chennai through train from Vellore in expense of 65 crores. We are also bringing water from the Veeranam lake everyday. We did not get enough water from Krishna river. We've got only 2 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) water out of 12 TMC which we should get," he added.
The Chennai city requires around 850 Million litres of water per day out of which only 525 MLD of water is only been supplied every day to the city through the metro tanker lorries which was agreed by the municipal corporation minister SP Velumani himself during a press conference.
The streets of Chennai has seen people standing with plastic pots everywhere for several hours a day from, people who have booked a tanker lorry and waiting for several days to get it delivered to their doorsteps because of the high demand.